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The Most Awful Movie Characters Who Aren't The Movie's Main Villain

Hollywood has long relied on the hero-villain formula to get audiences rooting for the hero, who saves the day from a villain that represents everything the hero is against. Villains are meant to be hated, and so they do terrible things and act as awful people, who draw the ire of the audience and get them invested in the protagonist's struggle.

While the main villain will often be the most terrible of all the characters in a film, that isn't always necessarily the case. In fact, there are plenty of examples where someone other than the primary antagonist is far more ghastly or horrible. Sometimes, we meet a secondary villain who is willing to do horrendous things or a hero who is not quite as valiant as they may initially seem. Whatever the case, these characters show that you don't have to be the ultimate villain of a film to be a bad guy.

Seth - Superbad

Written by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, "Superbad" is a 2007 comedy about three friends: Seth (Jonah Hill), Evan (Michael Cera), and Fogell (Christopher Mintz-Plasse). With school finishing up and college on the horizon, the group spends one of their last days together trying to get alcohol, so that they can impress girls at a party and hopefully lose their virginity.

"Superbad" doesn't have any villains in the traditional sense. While there are the two police officers (Bill Hader and Seth Rogen), who act as antagonists by stopping Seth and Evan from getting alcohol, the teens are still minors, so the actions of the officers aren't exactly evil.

Seth and Evan do meet other characters along the way that try to prevent them from achieving their goals. Mark (Kevin Corrigan) tries to start a fight with Seth, but he only appears briefly and doesn't really do anything to the pair, while Francis (Joe Lo Truglio) is a bit of a weird creep but again, isn't the "main" villain here.

Instead, it's arguably Seth who is the most awful of all the characters in "Superbad." His only goal is to have sex before he gets to college and he is willing to do anything to hook up with Jules (Emma Stone). It is exactly the type of behavior we typically see in a movie villain: someone who will do anything to achieve their goal. So, maybe it's not so surprising that Seth betrays Fogell and leaves him at the mercy of the police or that he later is willing to sacrifice his friendship with Evan when he opposes Seth's plans.

Simon - True Lies

Counterterrorism secret agent Harry Tasker (Arnold Schwarzenegger) leads a double life and hides his real job from his wife and daughter, who believe he's a salesman that is just too busy to care about their lives.

While trying to balance the two sides of his life, he becomes embroiled in a plot by a terrorist organization known as Crimson Jihad, which plans to detonate nuclear warheads across the United States. Naturally, the group's leader Salim Abu Aziz (Art Malik) and his ally Juno Skinner (Tia Carrere) are the clear villains here.

However, there is another choice for the most awful character that appears halfway through the film. Harry's wife Helen (Jamie Lee Curtis) meets Simon (Bill Paxton), who tells her that he's a secret agent and needs her help with a mission. Tired of Harry constantly disappearing and being distracted when he's around, Helen feels charmed by Simon's attention and agrees to help.

But it turns out, Simon is a used car salesman, who pretends to be a government agent in order to manipulate women into sleeping with him. A sleazy and vulgar man, Simon is only interested in lying to women in order to get what he wants, which makes him as toxic and in some ways, more deplorable, as the more obvious "bad guys" of the movie.

Chet - Weird Science

John Hughes went in a new direction in 1985 after "The Breakfast Club" and "Sixteen Candles" when he wrote and directed the sci-fi comedy film "Weird Science." Gary (Anthony Michael Hall) and Wyatt (Ilan Mitchell-Smith) are two teen outcasts, who use their computer and A.I. to create a beautiful woman named Lisa (Kelly LeBrock). The film follows their adventures with Lisa, who tries to teach them how to become sophisticated men so that they can impress two female classmates at a party they are hosting while their parents are away. 

A number of characters play villainous roles at various points throughout the film, including a mutant biker gang that holds the teens hostage and other students, who cause trouble for the pair at the local mall.

However, arguably the most terrible person in "Weird Science" is Chet (Bill Paxton), Wyatt's older brother. A military man, he takes every opportunity to abuse the two protagonists and Lisa. He verbally harasses them and also gets physical as well. 

Throughout the movie, he steals from other characters, treats them like garbage, and basically makes the lives of everyone around him miserable. Eventually, though, he does get his comeuppance when Lisa transforms him into a mutant blob.

Scarecrow - Batman Begins

Christopher Nolan's reboot of the "Batman" franchise began in 2005 with "Batman Begins," with Christian Bale taking on the titular role. This origin story follows Bruce Wayne's (Bale) transformation into the Caped Crusader and the training he completes with Henri Ducard (Liam Neeson), who is later revealed to be the villain Ra's al Ghul. Under the leadership of al Ghul, the League of Shadows puts a plan into motion to destroy Gotham. 

The secondary villain in "Batman Begins" is Dr. Jonathan Crane (Cillian Murphy), otherwise known as Scarecrow, who is the Chief Administrator of Arkham Asylum. Ra's al Ghul works with Scarecrow, who has developed a toxin that causes intense fear in anyone who gets exposed to it. 

The nightmarish visions Scarecrow causes in his victims plus his own terrifying appearance make him far scarier than the primary antagonist of Ra's al Ghul. Plus, Scarecrow's plan to drive millions of people to the edge of sanity to lead to the complete destruction of Gotham is quite frightening. Few "Batman" villains have ever been quite as scary — at least on film anyway.

Elle Driver - Kill Bill

As you might expect from a Quentin Tarantino film, the two "Kill Bill" movies do not have a linear narrative and instead follow events that take place out of chronological order. But what links these different moments of time is the main villain Bill (David Carradine), as the films follow Beatrix Kiddo's (Uma Thurman) journey to get revenge on him and the Deadly Viper Assassination squad for betraying her. Yet, Bill doesn't actually appear until "Kill Bill: Volume 2" and even then, only appears for a brief amount of time.

The rest of the assassins are all equally as evil, if not more so, than their leader. Bill's brother Budd (Michael Madsen) almost kills Kiddo and buries her alive. O-Ren Ishii (Lucy Liu) is a ruthless crime lord who rules the Tokyo underground with an iron fist, while Vernita Green (Vivica A. Fox) worked as an assassin for years and took part in the Massacre at Two Pines that almost killed Kiddo and her new family.

Yet, out of all the bad guys and girls in "Kill Bill," it is Elle Driver (Daryl Hannah) who is by far the worst. She betrays the trust of Pai Mei and kills him with poison, murders Budd and then lies to Bill about what she has done, and is prepared to kill Kiddo while she is comatose and can't defend herself. Elle Driver is a remorseless and vicious killer who puts everyone else to shame.

Mr. Dursley - Harry Potter

The world of "Harry Potter" is filled with a lot of bad people. There are Death Eaters, terrifying Dementors, dragons, and other magical creatures, and a host of evil characters such as Gellert Grindelwald and Dolores Umbridge. So there's no shortage of villains that terrorize the young wizards and witches who make up the main characters in the book and movie series. 

Of course, the worst of them all is Lord Voldemort, Harry Potter's arch-nemesis and the major antagonist responsible for masterminding most of the events throughout each film. Being as evil as the darkest wizard of all time is almost impossible but one character in "Harry Potter" does come close.

Vernon Dursley is the uncle of Harry Potter, husband of Petunia, and father of Dudley. As Harry's guardian, he plays a key role in raising the young boy after his parents get killed. Unfortunately, he doesn't treat him as well as Dumbledore and Hagrid had hoped. 

Vernon takes every opportunity to belittle Harry and treats him more like a servant than a member of his family. Dursley even does everything he can to try and hide Harry's magical powers and stop him from attending Hogwarts. His terrible behavior is made all the worse by the fact that he is related to Harry and should have been looking out for him but instead just makes his life miserable.

Mayor Vaughn - Jaws

Steven Spielberg's 1975 classic horror "Jaws" sees the town of Amity Island terrorized by a man-eating great white shark. This fierce marine creature attacks and kills multiple people in the height of the busy summer season when everyone and their mother is at the beach. So, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider), marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and shark hunter Quint (Robert Shaw) team up to kill the beast before it can cause any more harm.

While the shark is obviously the primary antagonist of "Jaws," there is another figure in the film that might actually be worse than the shark. After all, the predator is simply trying to survive and has no sentience, so it doesn't understand the difference between right and wrong. The same can't be said of Mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton), who is perfectly aware of what he is doing. 

Throughout the film, he does his best to convince the people of his town that the beach and water is safe out of fear that shutting down the beach will cause economic damage to Amity Island. His actions undoubtedly result in more deaths and if he cared more about safety than profits, much of the carnage in "Jaws" could have been avoided.

Joseph Bruce Ismay - Titanic

"Titanic" is not the type of film that has an overarching villain, as the main threat comes from the giant iceberg that sinks the huge cruise ship. Of course, that doesn't mean that there aren't any other antagonists in James Cameron's 1997 blockbuster. There are several villainous people onboard the Titanic, with Cal Hockley (Billy Zane) standing out as the main bad guy. Cal is the fiancé of Rose (Kate Winslet) and a rival of Jack Dawson (Leonardo DiCaprio). He seeks to control Rose, undermine Jack, and generally just act like an insecure jerk, which he does from beginning to end.

But he may not be the worst person in "Titanic." We argue that honor goes to Joseph Bruce Ismay (Jonathan Hyde). Ismay is the managing director of the White Star Line and in the film, he plays a major role in the tragic events. A proud but ignorant man, he pushes the captain to increase the ship's speed to dangerous levels and does little to help the rescue effort when it becomes clear that the Titanic will sink. In fact, he even gets on a lifeboat ahead of some remaining women and children, which leads him to be branded a coward for putting his own life ahead of others. 

While the Titanic Historical Society has disputed this portrayal, arguing that the image of the real Ismay as a coward stemmed in part from his bad relationship with American press magnate William Randolph Hearst, the damage has been done in "Titanic" and it's hard to find a worse character in the film.

Denethor - The Lord of the Rings

There's an obvious villain in both the novel and film trilogies of "The Lord of the Rings" in the form of Sauron. This demonic figure is not only responsible for unleashing hordes of evil orcs and monsters onto the world but also threatens the very existence of the Elves, Men, Dwarves, and other Free Folk who call Middle-earth home. Unless the One Ring is destroyed, he will hold dominion over the world and kill or enslave all those who oppose him.

Of course, the series doesn't just have one big baddie. "The Lord of the Rings" is filled with downright awful characters, from Saruman the White and the Witch King to the fiery Balrog and the massive spider Shelob. Hidden around every corner is seemingly another terrifying villain that could kill any of the Fellowship. That means that Gandalf and his group certainly have their work cut out for them.

But perhaps one of the worst of the bad guys is someone who shouldn't even be considered on the wrong side, as he's supposed to be the protector of Gondor as its steward. Yet this is not the case and instead, Denethor puts Gondor in peril due to his poor decision-making and lack of action. 

He ignores the desperate situation as Mordor attacks Gondor, favors Boromir over Faramir, and even tries to burn his own son alive as he falls into despair. Few people are ultimately as unlikable as Denethor in the entire movie trilogy.

Lloyd Christmas - Dumb and Dumber

"Dumb and Dumber" is a 1994 comedy film that stars Jim Carrey and Jeff Daniels as Lloyd Christmas and Harry Dunne, two dimwitted and naive men. The pair embark on a road trip across the country when Lloyd decides to try and return a briefcase to Mary Swanson (Lauren Holly) in Aspen, Colorado. Unbeknownst to the pair, the briefcase holds a large amount of money that was intended to pay a ransom for Mary's husband. Along the way, they are pursued by career criminals Joe Mentalino (Mike Starr) and J. P. Shay (Karen Duffy) under the direction of Nicholas Andre (Charles Rocket).

However, we think that Lloyd is the most horrible of the characters in "Dumb and Dumber." His ignorance and jerkish behavior leave people constantly injured and the only reason he wants to return the briefcase to Mary is that he has fallen in love with her even though he doesn't know her.

Lloyd also constantly berates Harry despite the fact that his friend is well-intentioned and certainly less rash than he is himself. He even cons a blind child into buying his friend's dead pet bird and frequently puts Harry in danger, going as far as to poison him to win back Mary.

Major Arnold Ernst Toht - Raiders of the Lost Ark

Fresh from the success of "Star Wars," George Lucas and Harrison Ford teamed up again for "Raiders of the Lost Ark." Featuring the swashbuckling archeologist Indiana Jones (Ford), the first film in the action-adventure series sees the part-time professor journey to Egypt to try and stop the Nazis from discovering the Ark of the Covenant. 

Written by Lawrence Kasdan, produced by George Lucas, and directed by Steven Spielberg, the film also sees Karen Allen star as Jones' former love Marion Ravenwood, John Rhys-Davies as his old friend Sallah, and Paul Freeman as the main antagonist and longtime rival René Belloq.

Belloq has been employed by the Nazi forces to find the Ark and is the obvious villain in "Raiders of the Lost Ark," but there is somebody else who is far scarier. Major Arnold Ernst Toht (Ronald Lacey) is a Nazi officer and Gestapo agent, who is completely loyal to Adolf Hitler. That alone might make him someone you never want to meet but this frightening-looking character is also willing to torture people and finds joy in causing pain. At one point in the film, he also shows he is willing to betray his henchmen and have them killed for his own gain, which makes him more villainous in our eyes than Belloq.

Henry Bowers - It

Anyone who has seen Andy Muschietti's 2017 "It," based on Stephen King's 1996 horror novel of the same name, knows that Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is the alarming and disconcerting villain of the film. After all, Pennywise is an otherworldly trans-dimensional being, who awakens from a mysterious slumber every 27 years to feast on children in the town of Derry in Maine. "It" follows a group of adolescent kids, who try to fight Pennywise, the shapeshifting entity that often takes on the form of a monstrous clown, as he terrorizes them and the local population.

As terrifying as Pennywise is, there is another figure in "It" that may well be just as bad as the creature. Henry Bowers (Nicholas Hamilton) is a teenage bully, who inflicts pain on innocent victims, including other children and helpless animals. A sadistic and violent person, Bowers is the leader of the Bowers Gang and goes as far as torturing Mike and then killing his father. He's sociopathic and unlike Pennywise, doesn't have a supernatural aspect to blame his behaviors on.

Glinda the Good Witch - The Wizard of Oz

Victor Fleming's 1939 classic "The Wizard of Oz" follows the journey of Dorothy (Judy Garland), who finds herself magically transported to the strange land of Oz after a tornado carries her Kansas home there. Dorothy meets the good witch Glinda (Billie Burke), who explains that Dorothy has accidentally killed the Wicked Witch of the East. Glinda gives her the now-deceased witch's ruby shoes and sends her off to find the Wizard of Oz, who can help her get back home. Dorothy meets some friends along the way and they set off to find the Wizard of Oz, but it's not such an easy task, as the Wicked Witch of the West pursues Dorothy to avenge the death of her sister.

While the Wicked Witch of the West is far from good and is the active antagonist of the film, Glinda is in fact far worse. The first time the audience meets her, she steals a pair of shoes from a dead woman and then prevents them from going to their new rightful owner, as certainly the Wicked Witch of the East's sister has more right to them than Dorothy, a random stranger. 

After blaming Dorothy for enraging the Wicked Witch of the West, Glinda disappears without offering any real help to the person she has now painted a huge target on the back of. Worst of all, she doesn't reveal to Dorothy that she could have gone home at any time by simply clicking together the magical ruby shoes.